English Paper on The Prevalence and Effects of Cyberbullying

Early this year, ABC 13 Eyewitness News reported about the arrest of two 12-year olds for cyberbullying in connection with suicide of a suicide case of a 12-year old in Panama, Florida. The police reports revealed that the victim had experienced cyberbullying that involved spreading of rumours that the victim had an STI, vulgar name-calling, and threats to expose the victim’s sensitive details. Cyberbullying is a significant public health concern with profound effects on the victims’ lives. The issue has become prevalent, blossoming with the growing use of social media among adolescents and young adults. We shall look at the prevalence of cyberbullying and its effects on the victims.

Before progressing to the prevalence of this issue, it is important to define the term. Cyberbullying is an intentional, repeated harm caused to a person through communication technology (Pdresources.org). Perpetrators of cyberbullying use communication devices like cell phones, tablets, or computers to intimidate or harass a victim. This takes place on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, applications like Snapchat, websites, SMS, or through calls. According to DoSomething.org, approximately 43% or 1 in 4 teens have been bullied online and only 1 in 10 victims report the incidences to parents or guardians. DoSomething.org also establishes that girls are at a higher risk of being bullied relative to boys. Cyberbullying is also pervasive among young adults. A 2016 study by Goshe (14) indicated that 32% of the 1,194 students sample at a major state university.

Cyberbullying is associated to various mental, physical, and behavioral health issues. Studies have revealed that cyberbullying induces anxiety, depression, substance abuse, low self esteem, poor academic performance, increased physical symptoms, and suicide. For instance, a 2011 study by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) (as cited in Pdresources.org) found out that cyberbullying causes somantic issues like headaches and stomachaches. In 2014, Barlett (as cited in Pdresources.org) revealed similar outcomes as well as anger, fearfulness, sadness, and increased aggressive behavior. Furthermore, Steiner (as cited in Pdresources.org) linked cyberbullying to school absenteeism. While examining the prevalence and effects of cyberbullying among young adults, Goshe (26) revealed that students who had experienced cyberbullying reported anxiety, perceived stress symptoms, lower self-esteem, alcohol usage, and sleep disturbance.

Cyberbullying poses a great danger to the victims, which raises the need to address the issue. It is important to speak up and seek help from the authority once you experience cyberbullying. When such cases go unreported, perpetrators get encouraged to continue with their harmful behaviors. End To Cyberbullying Organization advises that we should observe computer courtesy to avoid sending harmful messages to others. We should also be active contributors in preventing and stopping cyberbullying by reporting the perpetrators and providing social and emotional support to the victims. Bullied individuals get to extreme points like committing suicide due to lack of emotional and social support. I believe if the 12-year old Panama victim had received emotional support from her parents or friends, she could not have committed suicide. We should, therefore, refrain from any form of bullying and be willing to help the victims.

We have seen how the increasing use of social media has inspired cyberbullying. Cyberbullying poses mental, social, and physical health risks including depression and anxiety, low self esteem, school absenteeism, anger, and aggressive behaviors. The issue is also associated with behavioral issues like substance use. It is important, therefore, to report about cases of cyberbullying and refrain from sending messages that can cause others harm.



Works Cited

ABC13 Eyewitness News. “2 12-year-olds arrested for cyberbullying in connection with suicide of 12-year-old girl”. ABC13 Eyewitness News. 25 Jan. 2018. https://abc13.com/2-arrested-for-cyber-bullying-after-12-year-old-girls-suicide/2983420/. 29 Oct. 2018.

DoSomething.org. “11 Facts About Cyberbullying”. DoSomething.org. 2018. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying. 29 Oct. 2018.

End To Cyberbullying Organization. “Prevention for Teens – How to Prevent Cyber Bullying”. End To Cyberbullying Organization. 2017. http://www.endcyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-prevention/cyberbullying-prevention-for-teens/prevention-for-teens/. 29 Oct. 2018

Goshe, Brett, M. “Cyberbullying Among Young Adults: Effects on Mental and Physical Health”. University of Connecticut Graduate School. 25 Aug. 2016. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=2012&context=gs_theses. 29 Oct. 2018.

Pdresources.org. “Effects of Cyberbullying”. Pdresources.org. 30 May 2017. https://www.pdresources.org/blog_data/effects-of-cyberbullying/. 29 Oct. 2018